A Guide to Medical Marijuana on the Border of Kentucky and Ohio

Your answers about medical marijuana on the border, answered.

Apr 19, 2023 at 5:04 am
click to enlarge Kentuckians and Ohioans cannot bring their prescribed medical cannabis across the border to either state. - Photo: Aidan Mahoney
Photo: Aidan Mahoney
Kentuckians and Ohioans cannot bring their prescribed medical cannabis across the border to either state.

This story is featured in CityBeat's April 19 print edition.

In order to better understand what specific issues medical marijuana users face on the border of Kentucky and Ohio, CityBeat included a Q&A in its latest Weed Issue. Keep reading for the most common questions medical cannabis users face crossing the border between Kentucky and Ohio.

Q: If I’m a medical marijuana card holder in Ohio, can I bring my weed/weed products into Kentucky?

A: Even as a legal prescription holder, you can’t bring your medical marijuana products out of the state of Ohio, including Kentucky. Your medical card also doesn’t work in other states, but there is a process in some states to petition for entry into their medical weed program as an out-of-state patient.

Q: What if I’m not actively using my prescribed cannabis but I pop into Kentucky while running errands and it’s in my car – can I still get in trouble?

A: Because your Ohio medical weed products can’t cross the Kentucky border, you should drop your weed off at home before you go anywhere out of state, even if you’re just popping into a store in Northern Kentucky while running errands. You have to keep your medical marijuana product locked in your trunk anytime you drive with your supply. So, even if you find yourself in Kentucky after hitting the dispensary, try to avoid any interactions with police that might lead to a trunk search. Possession of up to eight ounces of marijuana in Kentucky is a misdemeanor, even if it’s medical marijuana from Ohio, which is punishable by up to 45 days in jail and up to $250 in fines.

Q: As an Ohio resident, can I smoke my medical weed outside in Ohio? 

A: No. Even if you’re meters away from Kentucky on the Ohio side of the river, you still can’t consume your medical weed products outside. While a gorgeous day on the Banks might sound nice for popping a gummy or hitting your THC vape, Ohio medical card holders are required to medicate in a private residence – it doesn’t have to be your house, but it has to be someone’s private place.

Q: If I live in Kentucky, and have a qualifying underlying condition, can I purchase medical marijuana in Ohio?

A: Not right now. Under Ohio law, a reciprocity agreement with another state is required to allow that state’s cardholders to use Ohio’s medical marijuana program. Because Kentucky currently does not have a medical marijuana program running, the Commonwealth cannot enter into a reciprocity agreement with other states, including Ohio. In 2025, when Kentucky’s medical marijuana program starts up, it’s likely the two states will have discussions concerning a reciprocity agreement. 

Q: If I live in Kentucky – and fall under the conditions of Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order – can I bring marijuana into Ohio?

A: No. Beshear’s executive order offers automatic pardons to people with certain medical conditions if they legally purchase marijuana outside of Kentucky and are caught with it back in the Commonwealth. He obviously can’t pardon people who are arrested in another state. It’s also worth noting that there is still a federal prohibition on transferring marijuana across state lines.

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